Document Detail

Age independent and position-dependent alterations in motor unit activity of the biceps brachii.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20383774     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In the biceps brachii, age-related differences in synaptic excitability and muscle architecture may affect motor unit (MU) activity differently depending on the position of the forearm. It was hypothesised that as a result of these age-related differences, greater changes in MU activity would accompany a change in forearm position in old when compared with young men. Six young (22 +/- 3 years) and six old (84 +/- 3 years) men maintained isometric elbow flexion at 10% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) during changes in forearm position. Forty-nine MUs in the short (SBB) and long (LBB) heads of the biceps brachii were followed. Motor unit recruitment and de-recruitment thresholds, motor unit discharge rates (MUDRs), and MU discharge variability were measured. Although an age-related decrease in MU recruitment thresholds, and increase in MU discharge variability was evident, changes in forearm position influenced MUDRs similarly in young and old men (P = 0.27). Motor unit recruitment thresholds of the SBB were highest in the pronated position (8.2 +/- 2.9 %MVC), whereas in the LBB they were highest in the supinated position (8.6 +/- 2.0 %MVC). Motor unit discharge rates of the LBB did not change with forearm position. In the SBB, MUDRs were highest when the forearm was supinated, and also greater when compared with the LBB in this position. No position-dependent changes were observed for MU discharge variability in the LBB, but the SBB exhibited greatest MU discharge variability in the pronated position. The results suggest that MU activity is modulated following a change in forearm position, but the response is similar in young and old adults.
B Harwood; D L Edwards; J M Jakobi
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article     Date:  2010-04-11
Journal Detail:
Title:  European journal of applied physiology     Volume:  110     ISSN:  1439-6327     ISO Abbreviation:  Eur. J. Appl. Physiol.     Publication Date:  2010 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-08-12     Completed Date:  2010-12-13     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100954790     Medline TA:  Eur J Appl Physiol     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  27-38     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Age Factors
Aged, 80 and over
Evoked Potentials, Motor
Isometric Contraction*
Motor Neurons / physiology*
Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
Recruitment, Neurophysiological*
Sensory Thresholds
Time Factors
Young Adult

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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